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Why MBA: The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

World Bank economist Tanja Boskovic was struggling to break into finance, but the Chicago Booth MBA gave her the boost she needed to make the switch!

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Tue May 15 2012

Economist Tanja Boskovic wanted to move into finance, but struggled to land interviews. She decided to do the Chicago Booth full-time MBA and now she's successfully made a career "triple jump", switching job sector, function and location!

Tanja graduated from the Booth MBA in 2008 and is now an Associate for asset management firm BlackRock in London. She had never worked in finance prior to her MBA. Her first and second degrees were in Economics and she earned an MA in Development Economics from Universita di Bologna in 2002.

Tanja has worked in economics-related advisory roles with the European Commision, the government of Montenegro and the World Bank. She was part of the team advising Montenegro’s Minister of International Economic Relations as the country tried to implement key micro economic adjustment programmes in 2003.

After that, she moved to the World Bank, based out of Italy, to work on pensions advisory and sovereign debt analysis. Tanja was enjoying working as an economist, but she was also keen to enter the world of finance.

She applied for a place on the Booth MBA because she wanted a school with a strong reputation in finance. Having worked in demanding research roles, Tanja wanted "something analytical”.

“Booth has a tradition of high teaching ability and because I did not have any previous experience in finance I wanted to make the most of the opportunity”, she said.

Tanja took advantage of the flexibility of Booth’s curriculum, which allows students to choose their own classes and study groups, to build up a strong knowledge of Finance. “Not being assigned to classes allowed me to take as many Finance-related classes as possible. It was also great to get the chance to bond with people from my cohort outside of an assigned study group”.

These unique opportunities allowed Tanja to work on building a network in finance. “By the time I was leaving, I had an amazing network which was made enormous because it also included people from the Booth alumni and MBAs from others schools I met through events and extracurricular activities”, she said.

Tanja interned with Goldman Sachs during the summer of 2007 but she did not return for a full-time position because of the implosion of the economic crisis by the time she graduated.

She went back to working for the World Bank which was busy advising countries on how to deal with the financial crisis. This time, she was focused on emerging markets in Europe and Africa and was working out of their Washington DC Office. She stayed in that role for nearly three years before finally making the move to BlackRock in London in August 2011.

Tanja had received offers from several finance firms but decided to wait for the right opportunity. Her current role at BlackRock is focused on analysing sovereign credit risks within the Eurozone. Tanja prefers the fast-paced environment at BlackRock, where she sees the results of her analysis more quickly than in the long-term projects she carried out at the World Bank.

Her World Bank experience has been extremely valuable to help her carry out her role at BlackRock, but without the Booth qualification she would not have been able to navigate her way to the role. “Prior to the MBA, I didn’t get interviews for finance jobs but the MBA helped me with putting my story together, gave me more confidence and taught me how to sell myself”, she says.

We asked Tanja whether working in the finance world has been what she hoped for and she replied positively. “People are ambitious, smart, and competitive but very nice. I like the environment and the challenges it brings.”

She has some advice for anyone hoping to make a career switch post-MBA: “Stay true to yourself and always follow your instincts. When you’re on the MBA, there is so much going on around you and people come up with new ideas for you to try out so it's easy to lose focus.

"You will meet a lot of smart people and it’s great to listen to their opinions but at the end of the day, the decisions you make should be the right one for you”.